Developing A Brand Strategy - Considerations For The Inbound Marketer

brandstrategyYou know your company needs to connect with its audience- it has to educate and relate. You’re on board with inbound marketing and ready to make the connection, you’ve been writing blog content, sharing your unique insight and helping people. Great! The world loves helpers (and so does google), and now you’re working your way towards a content-loaded inbound marketing program that drives traffic to your site and generates leads.

Good news is that you are well ahead of the game and your competition, billboards and direct mail be damned - you are paving the way. But how do you do more than just generate leads? What brings you from content and gets your audience not just to follow you but sing your praises, promote your company, and have an instant connection and allow themselves to be a part of your story? That, my friends, is your brand and will take your inbound strategy from gold to platinum.

When you are involved in brand strategy it can feel like you are attempting to saddle a unicorn (I know, it’s a mythical creature and pretty difficult to come across… have you ever ridden a unicorn?). Point being, understanding your brand and telling its story is a unique, challenging venture and takes discovery and creativity. But when you have it down, you can connect with your audience in a way that will bring your marketing beyond valuable content. Your brand is your story with your inbound marketing your storyboard.

So if inbound marketing helps you tell your story, branding strategy puts your audience into your story and makes them part of it. Here are three key questions to consider when discovering your brand.

1. What differentiates you?

And no, it’s not that you are thought leaders in your industry… that’s the number one thing I hear when I ask clients what makes them different. Dig deeper, what really makes your customer want to work with you? Maybe your customer service is the best in your industry and every time I call you up I get a personal experience and feel like you know my needs before I even get into detail. That’s a better start, go with it.

2. What’s your story?

As Sasha Strauss said, “If you are a story to be told, don’t wait for us to figure it out.” Let me in on your unicorn riding experience, that’s amazing, I’d love to hear about it! What role will I play in your story? Will I become the athlete I’ve always wanted to be? Will I be cooler, smarter, more influential etc? You get it, who will I be and don’t make me guess.

3. Why do you do what you do?

What keeps your company up at night and why are you here for me. Inbound marketing provides the content to tell your story but building out your brand helps me relate to the root of your business. Let your customers in on the secrets of what inspires your company and why you started in the first place.

Brand strategy isn’t creating something out of thin air, it’s about tying your content back to your story and relating it to your customer. The good news with branding is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, it’s about discovering your company through the eyes of your customer and putting that into your inbound marketing strategy. You can’t be Apple or Nike, but you can concentrate the uniqueness of your company and how your customer can be part of that story.

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